Photo courtesty Penny Minnick
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ROCKY GROVE AVENUE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The Rocky Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church is the outgrowth of a small Sunday School Class of boys and girls known as the “Lily Band,” organized in June, 1885. A wooden structure was built and served as the church and public school of the area. As the class grew, the First Presbyterian Church of Franklin recognized its potential and organized it as a Mission under their care. By 1889, the Mission Church had outgrown its small wooden structure. A stone structure was erected for approximately $4,000 and the cornerstone was laid on October 28, 1899. This building was dedicated on March 5, 1900 with appropriate ceremonies conducted by Rev. William Y. Chapman. The church was organized on April 25, 1904 with a membership of eighty-nine. On May 16, 1904, the Rev. Frank Ridgley was called as the first pastor as a salary of $1,000. The name “Rocky Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church” was adopted on January 8, 1912.
A lot adjoining the church property, now used for parking, was purchased in 1925. By 1934, a four-room addition was added to the rear of the sanctuary. Two of these rooms are presently being used as the church office and the pastor’s study. Modification and maintenance projects accomplished between 1944 and 1952 include: new pulpit, furniture, improvements to the heating plant and system, altar repairs, new floor coverings, an emergency exit in the basement, a Hammond organ and organ chimes. The educational unit with five classrooms was completed in 1956. These classrooms were rented to the Rocky Grove School system from 1955 to 1958 as a public service. On May 5, 1960, the congregation voted to approve plans to enlarge the sanctuary and basement, and improve the heating and lighting systems. The cost of this renovation was approximately $110,000. During construction, the congregation met in the Rocky Grove High School. The first worship service was held on Easter Sunday, April 11, 1962. The mortgage burning ceremony was held at Sunday morning worship in October, 1972. In February, 1968, an additional lot was purchased from the Franklin Cemetery Association. This lot is currently part of the paved parking area. In 1974, on recommendation of the Long-Range Planning Committee, a new manse was purchased at 442 Wiley Avenue for the sum of $40,000. Rev. Harry Lichy, Jr. began plans for the library in November 1960. In March of 1978, the cassette library was formed and it still occupies space in the present library. Moorhead Hall was dedicated on Sunday, April 26, 1987.
In the past five years, there have been many improvements. A new organ was purchased, two bathrooms were remodeled, a new roof was installed, a handicap accessible restroom was built near the sanctuary, new tile and carpeting were installed, the sanctuary windows were repaired, drainage problems improved, and stream enclosure project completed.
Throughout the years, Rocky Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church has stood as a witness for Christ. Our history is one of both community and personal service. We praise God for His grace to us.
History of RGAPC